Awra_hadith on nakedness

Tahqiq fi Ahadith al-Khilaf[1]


Imam Abu ’l-Faraj ibn al-Jawzi al-Hanbali (d.597)

تحقيق في أحاديث الخلاف

By S. Z. Chowdhury

Summer 2002.

The Legal Issues Pertaining to the Covering of theAwrah[2]


Legal issue: The extent of the male ‘awrah: it is from the navel to the knees (min al-sirrah ila ’l-rukbah).[3] And regarding it: it refers to the back as well as the front. We have six narrations for [its evidence].

The First Narration [no. 401]:  Hibah Allah b. Muhammad reported to us that al-Hasan b. ‘Ali reported to us that Ahmad b. Ja‘far[4] reported to us that ‘Abd Allah [b.] Ahmad[5] related to us who said that ‘Ubayd Allah b. ‘Umar al-Qawariri related to me who said that Yazid Abu Khalid al-Qurashi[6] reported to me who said that ibn Jurayj[7] related to us that Habib b. Abi Thabit[8] reported to me from ‘Asim b. Damrah[9] from ‘Ali who said: The Messenger of Allah said to me:

“Do not show your thigh (la tabruz fakhdhak) and neither look at the thigh of the living or of the dead.”[10]

The Second Narration [no. 402]: The chain – ‘Abd Allah said: My father related to me that Muhammad b. Sabiq related to us that Isra’il related to us from Abu Yahya al-Qattat from Mujahid from ibn ‘Abbas who said: The Messenger of Allah (SAW) passed by a man whose thigh was exposed (fakhdhuhu kharijah), so he [SAW] said to the man:

“Cover your thigh. Indeed, the thigh of a man is considered ‘awrah.”[11]

The Third Narration [no. 403]: Ahmad said that Husayn b. Muhammad related to us that ibn Abi ’l-Zanad[12] related to us from his father from Zur‘ah b. ‘Abd Allah b. Jarhad[13] from Jarhad that the Messenger of Allah (SAW) passed by Jarhad and Jarhad’s thigh was uncovered in the Mosque so the Messenger of Allah said to him:

“O Jarhad. Cover your thigh (ghatt fakhdhak) because the thigh is ‘awrah.”[14]

The Fourth Narration [no. 404]: Ahmad said that Hushaym related to us that Hafs b. Maysarah[15] related to us from al-‘Ala’ from Abu Kathir Mawla Muhammad b. Jahsh from Muhammad b. Jahsh from the Prophet (SAW) that he [SAW] passed by Ma‘mar whose upper thigh (tarf fakhdhihi) was exposed (kashifan) so the Prophet (SAW) said to him:

“Cover (khammir) your thigh, O Ma‘mar! The thigh is part of the ‘awrah.”[16]

The Fifth Narration [no. 405]: ibn ‘Abd al-Khaliq reported to us that ‘Abd al-Rahman b. Ahmad reported to us that Muhammad b. ‘Abd al-Malik reported to us that Daraqutni said to us that Yusuf b. Ya‘qub b. Ishaq b. al-Bahlul related to us that my grandfather said to me that my father said to me from Sa‘id b. Rashad from ‘Abbad b. Kathir[17] from Zayd b. Aslam from ‘Ata’ b. Yasar from Abu Ayyub who said that: I heard the Messenger of Allah (SAW) saying:

“Whatever is above (fawqa) the knees is ‘awrah and whatever is below (asfala) the naval is ‘awrah.”[18]

The Sixth Narration [no. 406]: with the chain: Yusuf said that Muhammad b. Habib[19] related to us that ‘Abd Allah b. Bakr related to us that Sawwar Abu Hamzah[20] related to us from ‘Amru b. Shu‘ayb[21] from his father from his grandfather that he said: The Messenger of Allah (SAW) said:

“If a man marries his servant let him not look at (fa la yarayanna) that which is between his knees and navel because what falls between his knees and his navel is [considered to be] ‘awrah.”[22]

Legal issue: The knees are not part of ‘awrah: Abu Hanifah said it is ‘awrah.[23] And our colleagues have used as proof the two previously mentioned narrations for our opponents or other:

Narration [407]: ibn ‘Abd al-Khaliq reported to us who said: ‘Abd al-Rahman b. Ahmad reported to us who said that Muhammad b. ‘Abd al-Malik related to us that ‘Ali b. ‘Umar related to us that Isma‘il b. Muhammad b. al-Saffar related to us that ‘Abbas Muhammad b. al-Dawari related to us that Musa Isma‘il related to us that al-Nadr b. Mansur[24] related to us that Abu ’l-Janub related to us who said that Musa who’s name is ‘Uqbah b. ‘Alqamah said: I heard ‘Ali saying: I heard the Messenger of Allah (SAW) saying:

            “The knees are part of ‘awrah.”[25]

Abu Hatim al-Razi said: ‘Uqbah is weak (daif) in narrations[26] and al-Nadr is unknown (majhul) transmitting rejected narrations.[27] And ibn Hibban said: his narrations are not relied upon.[28]


And Allah knows best.

[1] The Correct Verification Regarding Differing Narrations, 2 vols. 1st edn. ed. by Mas‘ad ‘Abd al-Hamid Muhammad al-Sa‘dani, Dar al-Kutub al-‘Ilmiyyah, Beirut 1994, vol.1, pp.320-325. The text is a small compendium consisting of the ahadith references and evidences for the position of the Hanbali School in matters of Fiqh (Islamic legal rulings) by the great Imam, Faqih and Muhaqqiq of the Hanbali madhhab. For references on his life and excellence, see al-Dhayl ala Tabaqat al-Hanabilah, 1:399; al-Bidayah wa ’l-Nihayah of ibn Kathir, 13:28 and the Wafayat al-Ayan of ibn Khallikan, 2:231.

[2] This refers to “that which the Lawgiver has obligated human beings to cover” (ma awjaba ’l-shari satrahu min al-insan), al-Qal‘aji, al-Mujam Lughah al-Fuqaha’, p.293.

[3] This is also the opinion of Imam al-Shafi‘i, Malik and Abu Hanifah; see the Mughni of Imam ibn Qudamah al-Maqdisi, 1:615 and the Sharh al-Muhadhdhab of Imam al-Nawawi, 3:169.

[4] Ahmad b. Ja‘far al-Ma‘qiri – “accepted” (maqbul) according to ibn Hajar al-‘Asqalani, Taqrib al-Tahdhib,1:33.

[5] He is listed as ‘Abd Allah b. Ahmad b. Bashir. The text of ibn al-Jawzi’s Tahqiq omits “بن”. He is “truthful” according to Imam ibn Hajar, Taqrib al-Tahdhib, 1:381 and Abu Hatim al-Razi, al-Jarh wa ’l-Tadil, 5:5 and ibn Hibban lists him in al-Thiqat, 8:360.

[6] He is Abu Khalid, the teacher of ibn Jurayj; categorised as “unknown” (majhul) as per ibn Hajar in Taqrib al-Tahdhib, 2:418.

[7] ‘Abd al-Malik b. ‘Abd al-‘Aziz b. Jurayj; the great Jurist (faqih); he is upright and righteous (thiqah fadil). He used to conceal in narrations (kana yudallisu) as well as directly attribute statements to the Prophet (yarsilu). He is considered “trustworthy” by Imam ibn Hajar, Taqrib al-Tahdhib, 1:482; ibn Hibban, al-Thiqat, 7:93; al-‘Ijly, Tarikh al-Thiqat, p.311 and “with no faults” by ibn Ma‘in in Tarikh al-Darimi, p.10. See also the Tahdhib al-Kamal of al-Mizzi, 18:338; al-Dhahabi, Siyar Alam al-Nubala’, 6:325 and al-Bukhari’s Tarikh al-Kabir, 5:422.

[8] Jurist and knowledgeable; considered “trustworthy” (thiqah) by: ibn Hajar, Taqrib al-Tahdhib, 2:151; al-‘Ijly, Tarikh al-Thiqat, p.105; ibn Hibban, al-Thiqat, 4:137; Abu Hatim al-Razi’s al-Jarh wa ’l-Tadil, 3:97; ibn ‘Ady’s al-Kamil fi ’l-Duafa’, 2:406 and Tarikh al-Dawri of Hafiz ibn Ma‘in, 2:96.

[9] ‘Asim b. Damrah al-Sululi al-Kufi: “truthful” (saduq), see ibn Hajar al-‘Asqalani, Taqrib al-Tahdhib, 1:366. Imam al-Daraqutni comments that Habib b. Abi Thabit “did not hear from ‘Asim” (la yasihhu simauhu), see Jamial-Tahsil fi Ahkam al-Marasil of Imam Salah ’l-Din al-‘Ala’i, p.159 and the Tuhfah ’l-Tahsil fi Dhikr Ruwat al-Marasil of al-‘Iraqi, pp.71-72.

[10] Narrated by: ‘Abd Allah b. Ahmad in the Zawa’id al-Musnad, 1/436 with a weak chain; Abu Dawud in his Sunan (#4015) where it has the wording: “la takshuf” (‘do not unveil’). Imam Abu Dawud comments: “this narration has unacceptable elements in it”; ibn Majah in his Sunan (#1460); al-Daraqutni in his Sunan, 1:225 via Ahmad b. Mansur b. Rashid and al-Bayhaqi in the Sunan al-Kubra, 2:228. All narrations are weak. al-Albani also comments that there is a “breach” (inqita‘) in the chain between ‘Asim and ‘Ali (RA), see his Irwa’ al-Ghalil Takhrij Ahadith Manar al-Sabil (#269) and his Takhrij Ahadith al-Mukhtar (#491-492). Therefore, the presence of an unknown narrator in the chain, the fact of Habib b. Abi Thabit established not to have heard from ‘Asim and the breach between ‘Asim and ‘Ali render this particular narration very weak (daIf jiddan). And Allah knows best.

[11] Cited by al-Tabarani in the Mujam al-Kabir (#11119). This particular narration is weak (daif) due to the narrator Abu Yahya al-Qattat al-Kufi who is “not strong in narrations” (layyin al-hadith) according to Imam ibn Hajar, Taqrib al-Tahdhib, 2:476; ibn Hibban condemns him in severe terms in his al-Majruhin, 3:102; Imam al-Nasa’i comments that “he is not strong” (laysa bi ’l-qawiyy), Kitab al-Duafa’ wa ’l-Matrukin, p.256 (no. 672); ibn Sa‘d also weakens him in Tabaqat al-Kubra, 6:339 as well as ibn ‘Ady in al-Kamil fi ’l-Duafa’, 3:237 although al-Bazzar comments that “he knows no faults about him” (la nalamu bi-hi ba’san) as in Kashf al-Astar an Zawa’id al-Bazzar of Imam al-Haythami, p.3058 and al-Darimi has him down interestingly as “trustworthy” (thiqah), Tarikh al-Darimi, p.964. cf. also the Mizan al-Itidal of al-Dhahabi, 4:586 and Bukhari’s Tarikh al-Kabir, 3:438. The narration with Abu Yahya in the chain is graded as “rigorously authenticated” (sahih) by al-Albani in his edition of al-Tirmidhi’s Sunan (#2796) although Imam ibn Hajar weakened it in the Fath al-Bari, 2:570. However, there are other stronger narrations (lahu shawahid) which support this one establishing that the thigh is ‘awrah; see for example: al-Tirmidhi (#2795 & 2797-2798); Abu Dawud, Sunan (#4014); al-Tabrizi, Mishkat al-Masabih (#3114); Imam Ahmad b. Hanbal’s Musnad, 3/479 (#16022-16029) where Imam Shu‘ayb Hasan declares it ‘good’ with all its corroborating evidences (hasan bi-shawahidihi) although no. 16022 itself is weak because it is “extremely confounded” (mudtarib jiddan). He also suggests that most of the narrations have “perplexities” (idtirab) in their chains. Cf. also 5/290 (#22861-22862). And Allah knows best.

[12] He is ‘Abd al-Rahman b. ‘Abd Allah b. Dhakwan, ibn Abi ’l-Zanad; one of the men of knowledge during his time. Imam ibn Hajar considers him “truthful” (saduq), Taqrib al-Tahdhib, 1:447; al-‘Ujly deems him “trustworthy” (thiqah) in Tarikh al-Thiqat, p.292 and so too did Imam Malik and Imam al-Dhahabi comments most of the scholars had established his probity, Mizan al-Itidal, 2:676. Ahmad b. Hanbal weakened him saying he was a “confounder of narrations” (mudtarib al-hadith) in his al-Ilal wa Marifah ’l-Rijal, 1:22; as well as al-Nasa’i in his Duafa’ p.207 (no.367); see too ibn ‘Ady’s al-Kamil, 5:232 and Bukhari’s Tarikh al-Kabir, 5:315.

[13] Classed as “unknown” by ibn Hajar in Taqrib al-Tahdhib, 1:255 but ibn Hibban lists him generously in al-Thiqat, 6:434.

[14] See the Musnad of Imam Ahmad, 4/379 (#16023-16025). See also al-Tirmidhi, Sunan (2795); Abu Dawud, Sunan (#4014) and others. Imam Bukhari weakened it in his Tarikh commenting that it had “confusion in its chain” (li-idtirab fi isnadihi), Tarikh al-Kabir, 2:248.

[15] Hafs b. Maysarah al-‘Uqayli, Abu ‘Amr al-San‘ani; “trustworthy” (thiqah) according to ibn Hajar although he sometimes indulges (rubbama wahhama), Taqrib al-Tahdhib, 1:188; ibn Hibban, al-Thiqat, 6:200; Ahmad b. Hanbal, Hafiz ibn Ma‘in and Abu Zur‘ah deem him to be “without faults” (la ba’sa bihi) whereas Abu Hatim al-Razi said “he was fit to transmit narration” (salih al-hadith); see Tarikh al-Dawri, 2:323 and al-Jarh wa ’l-Tadil, 3:187.

[16] See Ahmad, Musnad, 5/290 (#22861); al-Hakim in his Mustadrakala ’l-Sahihayn, 4/180; al-Baghawi in his Sharh al-Sunnah (#2251); ibn Hajar al-‘Asqalani in al-Arbain al-Mutabaynah (#35) and his comment in the Fath al-Bari, 2:571 where he states that all the narrators (rijal) are men of the sound (sahih) category except Abu Kathir regarding whom Imam ibn Hajar was not able to find a clear categorisation of his validity (lam ajid tasrihan bi-tadil).

[17] He is ‘Ibad b. Kathir al-Ramli al-Filistini; considered weak by ibn Hajar, Taqrib al-Tahdhib, 1:375 and Hafiz Abu Zur‘ah as mentioned in al-Jarh wa ’l-Tadil, 6:85; Bukhari said that he was questionable (fihi nazar) in the Tarikh al-Kabir, 3:43; al-Nasa’i said “he was not trustworthy” (laysa bi-thiqah) in the Duafa’ wa ’l-Matrukin, p.213 (no. 407) and ‘Ali b. al-Junayd said he was discarded (matruk). However, ibn Ma‘in is quoted to have said he is “thiqah”; cf. al-Dhahabi’s Mizan al-Itidal, 2:370 and ibn Hajar’s Talkhis al-Habir, 1:279.

[18] Narrated by al-Daraqutni in his Sunan, 1:231.

[19] Classed as “unknown” (majhul) by ibn Hajar in Taqrib al-Tahdhib, 1:161 but ibn Hibban lists him in al-Thiqat,9:39.

[20] Abu Hamzah al-Sayrafi, al-Basri; considered to be “truthful” (saduq) but indulgent (lahu awham) by ibn Hajar in Taqrib al-Tahdhib, 1:326; ibn Hanbal said “he was a shaykh of Basrah and there are no faults with him” (shaykh basri la ba’sa bihi), al-Ilal, 1:12 and ibn Hibban cites him in al-Thiqat, 6:422.

[21] Deemed to be “trustworthy” (thiqah) by al-‘Ijly, Tarikh al-Thiqat, p.365, al-Nasa’i and ibn Ma‘in, see al-Mizzi’s Tahdhib al-Kamal, 27:72 and Tarikh al-Dawri, 2:445.

[22] Ahmad narrated it in his Musnad, 2/187 (#6689 = which is good and rigorously authenticated (hasan sahih) according to al-Albani whereas Imam Shu‘ayb al-Arna’ut said that the chain was ‘good’ & #6756 which al-Albani elsewhere also considered good). See also the Sunan of Abu Dawud (#4113-4114 & 496) all narrations being ‘good’ in their chains. Moreover, Abu Dawud commented that: “Waki‘ was negligent regarding [Abu Hamzah’s] name. Abu Dawud al-Tayalisi transmitted this narration from him and said: ‘Abu Hamzah al-Sawwar al-Sayrafi related to us’”, p.82. Cf. also, Nasb al-Rayah, 1:296 of Imam al-Zayla‘i.

[23] As in the Hidayah of al-Marghinani, 1:47. Cf. also what Imam al-Shafi‘i and Imam Malik have said in al-Mughni of ibn Qudamah, 1:616-617 and al-Nawawi’s Sharh al-Muhadhdhab, 3:168.

[24] Considered to be ‘weak’ by Imam ibn Hajar, Taqrib al-Tahdhib, 2:307-308 as well as al-Nasa’i in Kitab al-Duafa’  p. (no.); ibn ‘Ady cites him in his al-Kamil fi ’l-Duafa’, 7:23 and Bukhari said he was “rejected in narrations” (munkar al-hadith).

[25] Mentioned by al-Daraqutni in his Sunan; 1:231.

[26] See al-Jarh wa ’l-Tadil, 6:313 and ibn Hajar al-‘Asqalani,2:31.

[27] See ibid., 8:479. cf. also Nasb al-Riyah, 1:297.

[28] Kitab al-Majruhin of ibn Hibban, 3:50. cf. also his al-Thiqat, 7:534.


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